The Ministry of Health will be staging 13 parenting workshops across the island to raise awareness of the process of immunization and its importance, during Vaccination Week 2013 from Sunday, April 21 to Saturday, April 28.
The week is being observed by the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), under the theme: 'Vaccination: A Shared Responsibility.'
Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson noted that "parents, in particular, have a moral and legal obligation to ensure that their children are fully immunized to protect them against vaccine-preventable diseases and to allow for their attendance to school."
The Immunization Regulations of 1986, the policy framework developed under Jamaica's National Immunization Programme, states that all children under seven years of age must be adequately vaccinated before they are permitted entry to school. It also states that is the duty of every parent to have his or her child immunized.
The Minister is also encouraging all health workers to continue to improve the immunization coverage in the various communities across the length and breadth of Jamaica. "It is important for all of us as Jamaicans to work together and recognise that vaccination is a shared responsibility," he stated.
Director of Family Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Karen Lewis- Bell, told JIS News that "despite the many myths and fears surrounding vaccinations, medical evidence indicates that immunizations still continue to save many lives worldwide."
"Immunization is very important to ensure that children are healthy and well, and develop to their full potential," she stated.
Dr. Lewis Bell noted that the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the concerns that people may have regarding their safety.
She noted further that without adequate vaccine coverage, many of the diseases that have been eradicated from Jamaica could re-emerge, due to the increase in travel to and from the island.
The parenting sessions will be held in all the six health regions. For more information persons can contact the Ministry of Health at 1876-967-1100-9/ 1876-967-7575.
CONTACT: TONI-ANN RANKINE